Latest sale fuels speculation BW is ready to quit VLCCs


BW Group is set to sell the 299,000-dwt tanker BW Nysa (built 2000) to little-known Greek shipping player Smart Tankers Inc, adding to speculation that the Singapore-based company may be exiting the VLCC segment.

According to market sources, Piraeus-based Smart is purchasing the DMSE-built tanker for about $30m. However, TradeWinds understands that the deal has not yet been finalised. An official with Smart declines to comment.

The BW Nysa was understood to have been sold for $32m in February but that deal did not go through. The price to be paid by Smart is about in line with the $26.5m that John Fredriksen recently obtained for the 310,000-dwt Ulriken (built 1998).

The BW Nysa, which is due for special survey in January, is the oldest — along with the 299,000-dwt BW Ulan (built 2000) — in BW Group’s fleet of 10 VLCCs.

The deal is likely to add to speculation, ignited by other recent sales, that BW may be gradually leaving the segment. Bergesen DY, which merged with World-Wide Shipping in 2003 to create the BW Group, used to be a leading VLCC owner.

In July 2013, BW sold the 298,000-dwt BW Luck (renamed Nave Celeste, built 2003) for $35m. The 298,000-dwt BW Luna (renamed Success Fortune, built 2003) followed in October of the same year for $36m.

BW now appears to be focusing on the medium-range (MR) tanker segment and earlier this year was linked to the purchase of two 50,000-dwt newbuildings for $33.7m each. In March, it was said to have bought 10 similar vessels from Greek owner Metrostar Management Corp, scheduled for delivery in 2015 from South Korea’s SPP Shipbuilding, for $37.9m each.

Smart appears to be a new player on the Greek shipping scene. It obtained an official government permit to register a Piraeus office in February 2014. Its first ship under management, the 47,000-dwt African Gem, was bought from compatriot Chartworld Shipping in June for $8m. The BW Nysa will be its second ship and the company is understood by TradeWinds to be looking to acquire further quality tonnage, primarily in the MR and VLCC segments.

The company official declines to reveal its managers or owners. Its ministry permit also fails to identify them.

There has been market speculation that Smart is linked with Greece’s Altomare — likely because they share the same address in a large Piraeus office building, which also houses other companies. Two online data sources also link Altomare to the African Gem. Both companies vehemently deny any connection.


Share this!